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By BETH ZUMWALT
Debbie Gwartney has been teaching line dancing for approximately 21 years and enjoying the activity for 28. She enjoys choreographing dances for her groups and classes.
“Once I choreograph a dance, I post it on line,” Gwartney said. “I have a website I lost it too. There are probably 20 or 25 on there, along with my contact info.”
But Gwartney said it was a first when a well-known music artist from the Tampa, Fla. area contacted her and asked her to choreograph a dance for this new song, “One Night in Ybor City.”
“Ybor City is a suburb of Tampa,” Gwartney said. “Although people often think of line dancing as a country music thing, it is not. Ybor City is a pop song and my group has danced to country, pop, classic rock, just about every kind of music.”
Gwartney said she sent a video of her dance group doing the choreographed dance to Cadelle Anthony Hopkins, the artist who contacted her and he loved it.
Hopkins says the dance has taken the Tampa area by storm,
“Deb is totally trending here in Tampa’s line dance community! Some folk around Tampa had never heard of Pittsfield Illinois or Pike County Illinois,” Hopkins said.
Gwartney is not totally surprised her dance caught on.
“I’ve choreographed a few dances that have caught on and went around the world,” she said.
Gwartney and her group meet each Monday night at the Pittsfield Senior Center on Adams Street in Pittsfield. They also go to Jacksonville, which has a group re-staring and to Quincy.
“Line dancing is not as big a thing as it was years ago,” Gwartney said. “I’d like to think it’s coming back. Outside of this area, it is very popular, especially with the younger crowds.”
Anyone interested in taking or observing a class, a beginner class will be held starting 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the senior center.